I don’t know about you, but I always feel tense after a busy and stressful day at the office. This is mostly because of my body getting tired and sitting in a wrong position that creates tension in my upper body, especially my neck and shoulder area. I’m guessing I am not the only one experiencing that discomfort. Luckily, there are certain yoga poses that help relieve that accumulated tension.
The Best Yoga Poses for Neck and Shoulder Tension
1. Puppy Pose
The Puppy pose gives you an amazing backbend and connects your heart and spirit with the earth while grounding your emotions. It stretches both your upper and middle spine. Kneel on a mat and lower your chest closer to the mat. Stretch your arms forward and press your palms against the floor. Keep your neck straight and aligned with your spine. It helps if you look down instead of gazing up. Also, remember to maintain your hips above the knees. Hold this pose for at least five breaths, and then release. You can repeat this asana a couple of times if you want to achieve better results.
2. Bow Pose
The Bow pose is great when it comes to opening your chest and boosting flexibility in your neck, shoulders, arms, and legs. Basically, it engages the entire body that leads to a complete relaxation. Lie down on your stomach and lift your legs while grabbing your ankles with your hands.
Inhale and open your chest even more by pushing your legs backward a little bit. This way, you will put pressure on your arms and upper body to make the stretch more intense. Hold this pose for a couple of seconds, and then release it slowly.
3. Ear to Shoulder Asana
This is a simple pose that you can perform almost anywhere. It engages your neck’s muscles, which consequently improves their strength and flexibility. Also, it relaxes the trapezius muscle as well as your shoulders. Start by either sitting down or standing up in a comfortable position.
Keep gazing straight ahead and place your hands out to the sides, pressing your palms into the mat, with your fingers widely spread. Inhale deeply and, once you begin exhaling, incline your head and bend your neck, bringing your ear closer to your shoulder. Start on your right side. Keep your head straight, and avoid bringing it backward or forward. Your neck and head must be aligned with your shoulders.
For a more intense stretch, you can place your right hand on your head and apply some pressure when you incline your head to the right. This cycle must be done for up to ten times.
4. Hand to Elbow Pose
You can do this pose from either a sitting or a standing position. Both options are good as long as you keep your spine as straight as possible without pushing your belly in front. Lift your right arm and bend your elbow to drop your palm back, reaching your shoulder blades.
Place the other hand, in this the case the left one, on your right hand’s elbow and put a little pressure on it. This will intensify the stretch. The Hand to Elbow asana stretches your triceps, your shoulders’ front part, and your neck’s back part. Maintain this asana for up to ten breaths and then switch sides.
We all experience pain and tension in our neck and shoulder areas. Not all of us can afford the money and time to go to a massage every other day. Fortunately, there are specific yoga poses that you can do in the privacy of your own home. These will relieve tension from your muscles and will change your mood for the better.